Thursday, March 27, 2008

Uncle Nate and Ronnie

This is a picture of my uncle Nate holding me. I think this is me. Actually, I will claim to be any kid of the proper age in a photo. Nate was in the army at the time, so it would have been in the early 40's. So the age is appropriate. We are standing outside a building that the family simply called "The Old Place." It was a bar that my
Aunt Elizabeth and her husband Ray (I'm his namesake) owned. They tore it down when I was about six and built Ashbaugh's a bar closer to town. Note the delicate tinting on the photo. It could be that it was a black and white photo that was tinted in the photographer's lab. Looks like an early digitization, but of course, they didn't have such things then.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Kids in the Band

This is in Alaska. I'm, oh gosh, 14 or 15, and Tootie is 13 or 14. The band there was a big part of our lives. We were very proud of our uniforms, which were wool. Tootie was first clarinet and I played the snare drum. Our band leader, Mr. Plumly (Did I spell that right, Liz?) was a man of immense energy and considerable charisma. He came into town like a whirlwind sometime about my freshman or sophomore year and made the band into something excellent. I enjoyed my time with the band. Occasionally, Mr. Plumbly (how's that spelling?) would stop in practice, look at the back of the room, point his baton at me, and ask, "What are you doing back there, building a house?" I was always chastened by this but never knew precisely what he meant or what I was doing wrong. I have no idea who was sitting on the couch to my right. Poor person got cropped right out.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mom and Dad's Wedding

I don't know whether I am inventing memories or not, but the way I remember it is that Mom and Dad ran away to get married and Granddad Smith was going to shoot Dad. Mom was very young, in modern terms, to get married. She was 17 1/2 years old at the time. Dad was 22. The certificate reads that they were wed April 21, 1934 in Mesilla Park, New Mexico. It was actually a double wedding, with Mom's best friend Helen and her beau (no name in my mind). The pastor was Lewis, who was kind of a legend in the area, since he was a traveling preacher who had the whole of New Mexico as his back yard. He used to travel from place to place on horseback, knitting small baby caps as he rode. When he baptized a kid, he'd give him or her a little cap to wear. I have one, blue and white and kind of ragged now.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The kids go "outside"

Color film deteriorates over the years, doesn't it. I can't understand it, though, because it's only been -- oh my gosh, 53 years. This is a picture of Tootie and me at Seatac airport in the summer of 1955. We flew outside (to the 48 states). The next morning, we picked up brand new 1955 Buick, drove all over the west with it and back to Alaska. We almost didn't make it our of Seattle. Mom hit the wrong gear and almost put us into the Puget Sound. During this trip, I visited old classmates in Truth or Consequences, was sealed to my parents in the Manti Temple, lost an eyeglass lens in the Colorado River, visited Provo for the first time, attended a family reunion in Modesto, California. Boy was I beat when we got home to Alaska. Don't we look stylish? Especially Tootie. She is wearing a hat, which ladies did when they went out, and carrying a nice little handbag, which ladies did. I'm natty in a tan sport coat, gray slacks, and buttoned collar with no tie. The coat looks polyester, but this was way before that.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dad and his machine

I thought I ought to include Dad's office. This is where he worked while I was a young boy. Later, he became shop foreman and didn't work with such dangerous machinery. That's Dad in the center of the standing men. Behind him is the steam shovel he operated. They don't use them any more, as backhoes are much more efficient. I've also included a picture of the whole thing.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A visit to Uncle Clay and Aunt Alice

On the back of this picture are the words "Clay's June 1, 1973." I do believe that I took this picture, as I was there that day. The people in the picture are (left to right) Aunt Alice, Clay (barely visible), Mom, and Dad. This was at Clay and Alice's house in Alamogordo. We had visited the white sands earlier in the day and somewhere I have a picture of my son James, who was then 9 months old, playing on one of the white sand dunes. Note that Dad has the typical slanted cap and that Mom is wearing clothes and carrying a bag that she got in Afghanistan. Dad would have been 61 and Mom 56 at the time. They had been back from Afghanistan for about two years.

Monday, March 3, 2008

In Palmer, Alaska, 1951

I think this was the summer I turned 11. In this picture, Tootie is 9. I had seen a person on stilts on a movie somewhere and decided I could make some. I used 2x2 boards about six feet long, pieces of 2X4 for footrests, and straps from an old belt to hold my feet in. I got a friend in the Army to find me some old combat boots, and nailed the top parts to the stilts to hold my legs in place. I had to sit on the top of our Husdon Hornet to put them on. Two things amaze me about this incident. The first is that I never fell down. I caught on quickly, and walked all over the place, up hills, over ditches -- I was king of the world. The second thing that amazes me is that Mom let me do it in the first place. The two dogs in the foreground are Butch, our Cocker Spaniel, and(I believe) Suzie, our Golden Husky that we adopted when someone shot her left eye out.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The whole fam-damly

This is a photo of Mom, her mother and father, her sisters, brothers, and assorted in-laws, nephews, and nieces. Mom is the one on the extreme left. She is dressed in her favorite outfit for comfort and travel, gabardine slacks and moccasins (I think they called them "squaw boots" in those non-pc days). The picture was taken in about 1953. We were living in Alaska at the time, and Dad, Tootie, and I stayed home while Mom flew outside for a family reunion. The occasion, if I remember (this is more than 50 years ago) was my grandparents' golden wedding anniversary.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dad reading the paper

This is Dad reading the paper. He must have been in his early thirties at the time. You'll note that the picture was once in a photo album (look at the upper left corner). I initially thought this was taken during the time when Dad was in Puerto Rico during WWII. Notice right beside him the pith helmet on the edge of the chair. However, there also an old treadle sewing machine in the left of the picture, and on the wall a strung bow (as in bow and arrow) with a feather hanging from it. This indicates the presence of a woman in the household and that it was in the southwest, so perhaps it was during the time Dad was working on Elephant Butte Dam or the time the family was in Parker, Arizona. If it's Elephant Butte, dad is in his late 20's. If it's Parker Dam, he's older. Dad is, as always, skinny as a rail. As he got older, he got less stringy, but never chubby. How did he do that?